Re: =?iso-8859-1?Q?1=B5m?= sections.

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From:Barry Rittman <> (by way of histonet)
To:histonet <>
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I must agree with Ian on this.
I believe that there is a need for both thick and thin sections. I feel
however that there has arisen a mania in the histology community for
sectioning material as thin as possible. True that there is a need for the
best resolution in some cases but there is also a need to be able to
extrapolate images to 3 dimensional structure and this is often best served
with thicker sections.
I would also debate whether the sections that are being cut in wax are
truly 1 micron thick sections. With routine wax processing it is difficult
to cut uniform sections below 3-4 microns thick. It may be that some
sections that are being cut will end up being below this range but the way
I was taught microtomy was that a ribbon of sections of uniform thickness
was the most desirable end result. As sections are cut thinner, there is
also the probability of increased compression.
It is possible to cut 1 micron thick sections using hard waxes such as
ceresin or ester waxes but the disadvantages inherent in these waxes far
outweigh their advantages in this respect.
The recent comment that the microtome had settings that were from 0.5 to
100 microns does no necessarily mean that it is possible to cut wax section
at these thicknesses. With routine wax processing it is generally possible
to cut sections up to 15-20 microns, above that tissue tend to show
fracturing between components. This is especially true of blocks containing
hard tissues.


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